‘Worst case scenario:’ 5 percent K-State tuition increase, 4 percent budget cut to colleges

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The worst case scenario for Kansas State: a 5 percent increase in tuition and a 4 percent budget cut for the next school year.

April Mason, provost and senior vice president, reported these numbers to the Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee during Tuesday’s meeting.

“If the state would cut us, we’re talking about in the range of a 5 percent tuition increase,” Mason said. “That’s only if the state cuts us and they’re saying right now they’re not going to.”

If the state cuts K-State’s budget, students will notice more than the resulting tuition increase, Mason said. The Budget Advisory Committee has taken a “half-and-half” approach, where a 4 percent “internal reallocation” or callback of funds would be taken from the different units and colleges on campus in addition to the 5 percent tuition increase.

“That’s the worst,” Mason said. “Let me go better.”

If the state does not make a cut, but also does not increase funding to K-State, students would be looking at a 3.5 percent tuition increase and colleges might expect a 2 percent internal reallocation, Mason said.

“I don’t want the deans to read this in the Collegian,” Mason said. “This is going to kill us if this happens.”

Mason said Cindy Bontrager, vice president of administration and finance, will report the numbers to the Fiscal Affairs and Audit Committee of the Board of Regents today.

Mason asked a Collegian reporter to not include the numbers in this story. The Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee meetings are open to the public and recordings are posted on the Student Governing Association YouTube account. Committee members have requested the attendance of the Collegian at their meetings to increase transparency with K-State students.

“It is good to have the Collegian because … more students know about what we’re deciding on and talking about,” said Jessica Van Ranken, senior in political science, former student body president and a member of both the Tuition and Fees Strategies and Budget Advisory committees.

At next week’s meeting, the committee plans to vote on fiscal year 2018 tuition recommendations.

“I think we definitely want our recommendation to involve numbers and kind of some of those concrete things,” Van Ranken said. “It is really hard to make a tuition recommendation when we are leaving here before the Legislature is out of session and we don’t know what they’re going to do.”

State budget cuts to Kansas State are not a new concern for students and faculty after Gov. Sam Brownback cut $17 million in state higher education funding in 2016, which resulted in a $4.9 million loss to K-State.

Now, as the Legislature begins working on budget allocations for fiscal year 2018, administration and student leaders of the university have begun to look at possible tuition rates.

Regardless of what happens, Mason said the committee has three philosophies they presented to President Richard Myers: increase compensation of faculty and staff, minimize tuition increases and minimize the base-budget reallocations.

“Something we can do is recommend out a philosophy or something along the lines of a conditional recommendation, which we’ve done in past years and think about how do we think the burden should be placed on students in those different scenarios and do we think it should be placed on students,” Van Ranken said.

Mason said the Budget Advisory Committee has built a philosophy on three guiding principles.

“We want to give something to our employees, we want to keep tuition as low as possible, we want to make the cuts to all the units across campus … all of them, we want to keep those as low as possible,” Mason said. “We’re trying to give more. The numbers fall out, but they all fall under these philosophies. We’re going to give some type of increase to our faculty and staff.”

Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, commended the students on the committee for filling every seat and attempting to do everything they can to help other students. He said students were not included in the process 16 years ago and all decisions were made by administrators in Anderson Hall.

“We are trying to do several things that are out of our control: the Legislature, the governor, the Board of Regents,” Bosco said. “A lot of moving parts. We’re going to do the best job you can to recommend, to do the best job you can.”

In other news

The committee recommended a $15 surcharge for the College of Business Administration by a vote of 8-1-0.

The committee also failed to recommend a $20 fee increase or surcharge to the College of Human Ecology by votes of 1-8-0 and 2-7-0, respectively.

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Kaitlyn Alanis
Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!